April 28, 2008

COMMITTEE ON UNISLAMIC ACTIVITIES:

U.S., Allies See Progress in Selling Al-Qaeda As an Enemy to the Muslim World (Walter Pincus, April 28, 2008, Washington Post)

One approach, [Michael E. Leiter, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, ] said, is "to show that it is al-Qaeda, not the West, that is truly at war with Islam."

Last week, Zarate echoed that theme. He said al-Qaeda "should be revealed as themselves being at war with Muslims, especially those who do not believe as they do or subscribe to the al-Qaeda agenda."

Zarate cited an Egyptian Islamic group, which includes former jihadist leaders, that recently published a series of books "highly critical of jihadists and al-Qaeda." He did not say who promoted or paid for the books, but in undertaking this program, Zarate said, "credible voices, outside of the U.S. government," had to carry the messages.

Another example is a widely circulated letter to bin Laden from a leading Saudi cleric, Sheik Salman al-Ouda, released last September, in which the religious leader asked: "How much blood has been spent" by al-Qaeda attacks?

In October 2007, Zarate said, the Saudi grand mufti, Abdulaziz Al-Sheik, warned Saudis against unauthorized jihadist activities and lectured wealthy Saudis against "funding causes that 'harm Muslims.' "

To illustrate the impact of these actions, Zarate noted a recent question-and-answer session on the Web with al-Qaeda's second in command, Ayman al- Zawahiri, who responded to some of the issues raised by the campaign against al-Qaeda. Asked about the book written by a former leading Egyptian jihadist, Said Imam al-Sharif, Zawahiri tried to minimize the author's credentials, according to an analysis by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point.

Zarate said Zawahiri "sidestepped" the issue of killing innocents "by claiming al-Qaeda does not target civilians and arguing the loss of innocent Muslim life was either accidental or the Muslims mixing with non-Muslims were fair game."


Posted by Orrin Judd at April 28, 2008 6:14 AM
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